Solar Roadways


Solar Roadway Concept
Source: solarroadways.com

Imagine this scenario:

Everyone has power. No more power shortages, no more roaming power outages, no more need to burn coal, which accounts for 50% of current greenhouse gases. Less need for fossil fuels and less dependency upon foreign oil. Much less pollution. Plus, how about this for a long term advantage: an electric road allows all-electric vehicles to recharge anywhere: rest stops, parking lots, etc. Our dependency on oil would come to an abrupt end.

Nice dream, right? Well, take a look at this infrastructure upgrade idea that would tackle all of this at once.

 

Solar Roadways

Years ago, when the phrase "Global Warming" began gaining popularity, an idea of replacing asphalt and concrete surfaces with solar panels that could be driven upon was conceived. This was the concept of Jule and Scott Brusaw, the co-inventors and co-founders of Solar Roadways.

They started thinkingof the "black box" on airplanes: They didn't know what material that black box was made of, but it seemed to be able to protect sensitive electronics from the worst of airline crashes.


Solar Roadway Concept on a highway
Source: solarroadways.com

So what if a section of road could be made out of this material and at the same time house solar cells to collect energy, which could pay for the cost of the panel, thereby creating a road that would pay for itself over time? What if LEDs to "paint" the road lines from beneath, lighting up the road for safer night time driving, coudl be added? What if a heating element in the surface (like the defrosting wire in the rear window of our cars) would also be added to prevent snow/ice accumulation in northern climates? The ideas and possibilities just continued to roll in and the Solar Roadway project was born.

Solar Roadways: 6:59 min:

 


Panels with LED prototype
Source: solarroadways.com

In 2009, they received a contract from the US Federal Highway Administration to build the first ever Solar Road Panel prototype. During the course of its construction, they learned many lessons and discovered new and better ways to approach this project. These methods and discoveries are discussed throughout their website if you are interested in going there to finding out more.

Solar Roadways, The Prototype: 4:37 min:

 

After successful completion of the Phase I SBIR contract, they were awarded a follow-up 2-year Phase II $750,000 SBIR contract by the US Federal Highway Administration beginning in 2011. With this award, a prototype parking lot was recently built and then tested under all weather and sunlight conditions. Check out these newly released photos from their website:

The parking lot is fully functional with solar cells, LED's, heating elements, and the textured glass surface. 
Source: solarroadways.com

 

 

Yes, it is pet friendly and it could melt snow.
Source: solarroadways.com

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